The article examines, through the use of conceptual history, the semantics of ruling and government in Europe. The author identifies the discourses that have been constructed in order to answer the question of what can be ruled and governed in European cultures and shows how their prominence and timing have varied in different political cultures.
Engaging and Educating Adolescents in History Museums in Europe
History museums in Europe are transnationalizing their narratives. In contemporary historical sections they also increasingly include references to European integration and the present-day European Union. This "transnational turn" within a predominately European narrative frame meets the "educational turn." Museums attempt to transform themselves into more interactive spaces of communication. The meeting of these "turns" creates particular challenges of engaging and educating adolescents. I argue that in responding to these challenges, history museums in Europe so far use three main strategies: personalizing history, simulating real life decision-making situations, and encouraging participative narrating of the adolescents' own (transnational) experiences.
Local populations in Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia, and to a lesser degree in the Czech Republic, experienced much interaction with Muslims throughout the course of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, when the Ottomans, as well as the Crimean Tatars, invaded the Kingdom of Hungary and waged wars against the Polish-Lithuanian state and the Habsburg Hereditary Lands. The Ottoman era has usually been reflected in the history textbooks of these four countries under the headings "Turkish Wars" or "Ottoman Expansion." Since the collapse of the Iron Curtain in 1989, all four ex-communist states have been involved in rewriting textbooks, although the perception of the Ottomans and Muslims has not changed in all cases. Without claiming to map the entire historical presentation of the Ottomans, this article demonstrates the polyphony found in the textbooks of this region. By analyzing secondary school educational materials in all four languages, it is possible to identify stereotypes, prejudices, and distortions within the perception of the Ottoman Turks.
Dagmar Herzog, Sexuality in Europe: A Twentieth-Century History, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011, 238 pp., $28.99 (pb), ISBN 978-0-52169-143-7.
Josie McLellan, Love in the Time of Communism: Intimacy and Sexuality in the GDR, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011, 239 pp., $29.99 (pb), ISBN 978-0-2172-761-7.
Comparing Concepts and Identities
Pim den Boer
This article is a transnational comparative study of the history of the concept of civilization. It starts with a brief review of the meaning of concepts that historically preceded it, such as civilitas and civilité. Next, it focuses on the appearance of the concept in eighteenth-century England and France and the ways it was used by different political theorists and polemists, mostly in the sense of politeness. During the nineteenth century in the colonies outside Europe, in Africa, in Asia, and in America, the concept of civilization played a key role in the discourse of colonization. First it was used from above, by the colonists, but later on it was appropriated by the colonized. At the end of the nineteenth century, civilization acquired one more layer of meaning as it was incorporated into nationalistic discourse. Eventually, the concept also became so internalized that the majority of people in a country could identify their own nation as the supreme form of civilization.
Debate, Curricula, and Swedish Students' History
In 2010, a proposal for a new history syllabus was criticized in the Swedish media for emphasizing contemporary history at the expense of ancient history. This study shows how contemporary history has increasingly been the focus of the guidelines developed by UNESCO and the Council of Europe, the national curricula, and students' work since the 1950s, while graduating students had generally rather chosen to focus on the early modern era up until the 1930s. Although history and civics were given status as separate school subjects in 1961, students' work in history continued to focus on contemporary subject matter. This study shows that the dominance of contemporary history in students' history is by no means a new phenomenon.
After a complex integration process which has taken more than half a century, most Europeans—and non-Europeans—no longer identify Europe with simply an economic common market; yet the final political status of the European Union is still an open question. In general, Europe is usually regarded as the birthplace of a set of values claiming universal validity and serving as the basic political reference for citizens and institutions throughout the world. The emergence and spread of such significant concepts as civilization, democracy, liberalism, parliamentarism, (human) rights, or tolerance, for example, are generally associated with modern European history.
This article argues that the symbolic borders of Europe and the existence of external Others have been at times more important than Europe's center or its actual physical boundaries, especially during the first decades after the foundation of the European Communities. Analyzing textual and visual sources taken from some ninety French, Italian, and German history textbooks published between 1950 and 2005, the various sequences in which European integration has been constructed are highlighted. Communism, the first external Other, provided the first minimum common denominator for a nascent political Europe. It was not until the end of the Cold War that a projection of a distinct European identity appeared. Nevertheless, the role of new external Other(s) remains important for the evolution of the discourse of a European identity. This article draws attention to the Others, seeking to embed the Others' perspective in narratives of Europe.
A Remark on the Invisibility of Ideology in Popular Education
School history atlases are used almost exclusively as required textbooks in Central and Eastern Europe, where the model of the ethnolinguistic nation-state rules supreme. My hypothesis is that these atlases are used in this region because a graphic presentation of the past makes it possible for students to grasp the idea of the presumably "natural" or "inescapable" overlapping of historical, linguistic, and demographic borders, the striving for which produced the present-day ethnolinguistic nation-states. Conversely, school history atlases provide a framework to indoctrinate the student with the beliefs that ethnolinguistic nationalism is the sole correct kind of nationalism, and that the neighboring polities have time and again unjustly denied the "true and natural" frontiers to the student's nation-state.
George Mosse wrote European intellectual and cultural history in a way that recast its meaning. Because he did so without a specific theoretical program, the extent of his accomplishment in this regard at times went unnoticed. He was a member of the remarkable generation of European refugee historians who together formed the core of the American study of European culture and ideas in the postwar era. For his contemporaries, such as H. Stuart Hughes, Peter Gay, Leonard Krieger, Carl Schorske, and Fritz Stern, writing European intellectual history meant two things. First, it was a salvage operation, an effort to recall and preserve the traditions of humanism and liberalism destroyed by fascism and Nazism. Second, and related to that task, it entailed writing about other intellectuals—philosophers, social theorists, and novelists and artists of the first rank—who represented the best that had been thought in Europe.